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Quick Start Glossary: Network-attached storage (NAS)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Print out our handy glossary of essential network-attached storage (NAS) terminology for a fast reference. Online, each term links to our full definition, which also includes resources for further learning.

cloud NAS -- remote storage that is accessed over the Internet as if it were local.

Cloud-integrated storage (CIS) -- a conventional SAN, NAS or unified storage system that tiers and/or caches data to cloud-based storage and treats the cloud storage as if it were part of the primary storage system.

clustered NAS -- a distributed file system that runs concurrently on multiple NAS nodes to provide access to all files from any of the clustered nodes regardless of the physical location of the file.

desktop NAS -- a less expensive alternative to enterprise-level NAS for storing and serving active, archived or backup file data.

direct-attached storage -- computer storage that is directly attached to one computer or server and is not, without special support, directly accessible to other ones.

file storage (also called file-level storage, or file-based storage) -- a type of storage that stores data in a hierarchical structure.

NAS appliance -- commodity hardware that includes its own dedicated storage disks and RAID that can easily scale as more capacity is needed.

NAS accelerator -- a printed circuit card that offloads TCP/IP processing from a microprocessor. This can reduce latency, increase throughput, and reduce overhead costs in a SAN.

NAS enclosure -- a storage device that provides hard disk drive capacity to devices connected to a network.

NAS gateway -- a NAS system in which the storage media are externally attached, typically over a Fibre Channel  interface.

NAS (network-attached storage)  -- a type of dedicated file storage device that provides LAN nodes with file-based shared storage through a standard Ethernet connection.

network drive -- a storage device on a LAN within a business or home. Within a business, the network drive is usually located on a server or a NAS device.

scale-out storage -- a NAS architecture in which the total amount of disk space can be expanded as needed, even if some of the new drives reside in other storage arrays.

storage filer -- a file server designed and programmed for high-volume data storage, backup, and archiving.

unified storage (sometimes termed network unified storage or NUS) -- a storage system that makes it possible to run and manage files and applications from a single device.

virtual NAS -- a virtual machine (VM) that acts as a file server for NAS, which in this context is a dedicated medium with a unique address that provides data storage services to other devices on the network.

 

This was last updated in May 2015

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